Wild Bill (1995)

An arty western that's neither romantic nor revisionist, director 
Walter Hill's third oater is, from a commercial perspective, dead 
on arrival.  Few heroes and fewer heroics are just some of the 
challenges to this fictional retelling of the final days of James 
Butler Hickok.  As superbly played by Jeff Bridges, he's bitter, 
half-blind, and all-too-aware that the end is nearer than farther.   
(The conflict comes from his past:  a string of memories that he 
can't keep back, and the son of a sweetie who's gunning for the 
gunslinger.)  Leaner and meaner than most Western wear, WILD BILL 
stumbles a bit at the end.  Hill indulges in one too many flash- 
backs and the rhythm is almost lost.  He rights himself for the 
finale, though, and wraps with an unusually tight closing.  Great 
supporting cast, too, including Christina Applegate, Bruce Dern, 
Ellen Barkin, and John Hurt.  Recommended.

Grade: B-

Copyright 1995 Michael J. Legeros
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